Suz Duff Presents…BUSMEA

The 2012-2013 BUSMEA council. (BUSMEA /

The Brandon University Student Music Educators’ Association (BUSMEA) is a very active student group on campus. The group is not limited to music students, being open to anyone interested in music education. The fee to join the group is ten dollars; this allows members to receive the club publication, the BUSMEA Buzz (a newsletter about student music educators), three times a year, as well as the option to attend several professional development sessions, with the exception of their largest annual conference called Da Capo, which is discounted for BUSMEA members.

I spoke with BUSMEA member Claire Powell about BUSMEA, their events, and the Da Capo conference that will be held in second semester.

Suz Duff: What events has BUSMEA held so far this year?

Claire Powell: In terms of fundraising activities, we have held a Halloween bake sale, a chili sale, and a gingerbread cookie auction. For professional development sessions we have held a “Clinic on Clinics” session with Graydon Cramer and Janine Waynes, which was centered on the details of clinics and how to run a successful clinic. We also held “Students Working with Students” which focused on specific instruments, “Portfolio Development” with Barbara Miller, and “Lesson and Unit Planning” with Cam Symons who focused on the fundamental classroom lesson and unit plans.


SD: I have been told that BUSMEA’s largest event of the year is the Da Capo Conference. What is Da Capo and when are you planning to host the event?

CP: The 7th Annual Da Capo conference will be held on January 19th, 2013 from about 8:30 am–5:00 pm.  It is a one-day professional development conference which BUSMEA members host and orchestrate. The aim of the event is to allow as many people as possible to enhance their music education experience, including fields that they may not be comfortable in. Lots of learning happens!


SD: How long does it take BUSMEA to organize this event each year?

CP: We start planning right from the beginning of the year, in August or September. In the initial stages, we think about what topics we might want to present, of people who really like presenting, and who we want to return or new people we would like to have as presenters. From there, we divide into subcommittees: hospitality, registration, and technology; but the planning for the whole event is a group effort. Generally, it takes up the to the very last night to plan.


SD: Is the conference only for Brandon University student music educators, or are other universities involved?

CP: We have recently become an international event. Last year, we had a group of six students from Northern State University from South Dakota. They gave us really positive feedback and would like to come back this year. We have also had groups from the University of Saskatchewan and we’re in contact with the Universities of Regina, Manitoba, and Canadian Mennonite University. We try to generate more interest from the schools in our area, because it is a great event and anyone who is interested should feel welcome to attend. In addition to students, a large base of music educators and people who are just generally interested from the Westman area and Brandon community come and attend. You don’t have to be a student or a music educator to attend the event.


SD: What is the scheduling looking like for this year’s conference?

CP: It’s looking really great so far. We have a few of our old favourites coming back. Dr. Wendy McCallum presents every year and we love her. Kevin Doell, from Sunrise School Division, is doing presentations on interview sessions for education interviews and he’s great; he comes back year after year and always has positive things to say about the event. We’re also having Dr. Earl Davey, vice president academic at Canadian Mennonite University, as keynote speaker. Also, we have some local presenters such as Jaime Chinchilla, Son Latino Band leader, with a presentation on percussion. Kelsey Simpson and Christine Penner are our elementary presenters. Corey Taylor, a retail mentor, is presenting on connections to retail stores for instruments for Yamaha. Sheryl and Darryl Ferguson are presenting on good repertoire selections and the social experiences of students in the band class.


SD: Anything else you’d like to tell us?

CP: This year’s council is great, and every council every year has been amazing, or else BUSMEA wouldn’t be where it is. Every year the group gains a higher standing and I am just so happy to be part of it. We have such a great group; we can have a laugh and still get a lot of work done at the same time. I would encourage anyone who has interest in music education to attend the event.

The costs for the event are $40 for non-students, $20 for BUSMEA students, and $25 for regular students.  More information can be found on the BUSMEA website, their Facebook, and their Twitter pages.

Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 103, Issue 16, January 8, 2013.